In settling a lawsuit, Guilford County has agreed that people have a right to pray, even during a pandemic and even when Guilford County officials don’t agree with their political views.
Way back in March and April 2020, law enforcement officials for the City of Greensboro and Guilford County arrested a number of members of the pro-life ministry Love Life for praying on the public sidewalk outside an abortion clinic.
Both the City of Greensboro and Guilford County were sued in federal court by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of Global Impact Ministries, which does business as Love Life, for violation of the First and 14th Amendment rights of Love Life associates.
One of the more notable arrests was of Rev. Lee Stokes, who is the pastor of Destiny Christian Center near the abortion clinic on Randleman Road. Stokes was stopped by police when walking on the sidewalk from his church to the abortion clinic and was told by police that he could not walk down the sidewalk while praying because “praying” was considered a demonstration and demonstrations were not allowed under the stay-at-home order.
The lawsuit noted that those arrested had complied with the stay-at-home order by not gathering in groups of more than 10 and were keeping the six-foot separation social distancing requirement.
In settling the lawsuit, Guilford County has agreed that engaging in pro-life advocacy on public sidewalks is protected by the First Amendment and that Guilford County will uphold the First Amendment rights of citizens in any future proclamation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guilford County also agreed to pay $15,000 toward the Love Life associates’ attorneys fees. The pro-life advocates agreed to forgo seeking additional damages from Guilford County.
The lawsuit against the City of Greensboro remains in place.
ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle in a press release stated, “The government can concern itself with health and safety and still respect the constitutionally protected freedoms guaranteed to citizens. From the beginning, this case has been about government silencing people because it didn’t like what they had to say. If abortion business could stay open to perform elective abortions during the pandemic, Christians abiding by health and safety guidelines should certainly be allowed to pray outside. We commend Guilford County officials for agreeing to respect the free speech rights of Love Life members and acknowledging their freedom to pray and speak in the public square, and we invite the city of Greensboro to do the same.”
More $ whizzed away by the brain trust from
Greensboro and Guilford Couny.
$15,000.????? those limp politicians should join those Christians in prayer-and give thanks it wasn’t $15,000,000.
There are really no words to describe such bureaucratic mental density.
This is the first I’ve heard of this incident; media must have overlooked it. Guilford County and Greensboro should have to give these folks much more than $15,000! They have no problem giving millions to families of criminals.
It was in the news, but it was back when COVID first hit, so it got overshadowed by the COVID death tracker reporting. There are some YouTube vids still up, but I couldn’t find the original footage filmed by the protestors. Still, this clip will give you an example of Greensboro’s finest at work:
Admittedly, the COVID restrictions were brand new, but the pesky Constitution is pretty clear. This was possibly politics at work by this officer. He may have been enforcing his pro-abortion stance rather than upholding the Constitution, or maybe he just really wanted a promotion. Who knows, but it clearly was not his best day.
Here’s the full legal complaint:
Get your checkbooks out taxpayers, because your city is paying out on this one. Whoever thought requiring cops to only need a 10th grade reading level and a GED was a good idea was pretty short sighted. Being cheap and having low standards might seem more economical in the short term, but dumb decisions like these cost us all more in the long run. You get what you pay for Greensboro. Let’s keep up the status quo and watch our money get flushed down the drain.
And here’s Don
With those requirements you should be able to get a job with no problem
And here’s Rebel and BlueBoy offering nothing as usual. So worthless.
Oh my don. I fear you may be a bit perturbed. You knows thin skinned people probably shouldn’t be on here.
So I’m supposed to let you jab at me and not jab back? I don’t think so, keyboard commando. In fact, I’ve had the last word in all of our conversations so far, Scooter. You just seem to fade away after lobbing up a few worthless, grammatically atrocious, jabs. I use the term “conversations” very loosely, because you still haven’t actually added anything useful to any discussion. How about you worry less about what I have to say, and actually say something useful yourself. Do you even have any constructive ideas or are you just one of those guys that stands around and shakes their head, saying, “That’s not how I would have done it” without actually saying anything useful?
How about you post your thoughts on how GPD responded to this issue? Did GPD respond appropriately or not? Chime in with some opinions or facts if you want. No? Instead, you’ll just make fun because that’s all you’ve got in that limited wheel house of yours.
You offer nothing of substance, as usual. I “knows” this.
And we will pray that the City of Greensboro does indeed understand FREE SPEECH and settle the lawsuit against their incredibly tone deaf actions.
don has such thin skin. And a Napoleon complex
Sounds like someone had to remind our current body politic that there are these things called inalienable rights that were laid out centuries ago that must not be infringed upon.
Our federal government has for a long time decided when and where to to obey the constitution
Don there’s always two sides to a story if you have never seen the group doing the protesting then please take the time to do so they are not as innocent as they make themselves out to be. I’m not saying that GPDs actions were their finest moment it could have been handled better but the officers involved had orders. Maybe you’re one of those who didn’t believe in following orders could be why you’re unemployed. Thin skin will cause that. Glad you enjoy my grammar. Have a lovely day.
Good effort Boyinblue for actually posting something on topic. “Just following orders” doesn’t fly since you and I both know that no one is required to follow an illegal order. I could site the 3rd Reich as a prime example of “just following orders” gone wrong, but there is no need to go that extreme. Anyway, I guess the results of the lawsuit will be the ultimate deciding factor as to whether or not the order was unlawful, but I am pretty sure that this incident is the ONLY time GPD charged anyone with mandate violations. That is a pretty clear sign that GPD quickly took a step back from their initial policy once they got called out on it.
The Constitution is pretty clear that Freedom of Assembly, Speech, and Religion are all protected, even for people who “are not as innocent as the make themselves out to be”. I believe this suit will reinforce that ideal.
Following illegal orders can get you suspended or fired. I have a feeling some on this board know all about that.
This type of atrocious behavior will never occur under the watch of the next sheriff, Billy Queen!
Hey idiot. These were Greensboro Police Department officers. The county was released from the suit. It was a county mandate and a county jail. Greensboro officers committed the alleged constitutional violation. One retired, one was promoted after this incident.
Careful how you speak to Mr. Queen he may be the new Sheriff in the near future
Not if he doesn’t know the difference between city cops and county deputies.
There’s a lot of people on here who don’t know the difference Just ask Don
As long as he spells it P-H-I-L B-Y-R-D it’s all good.
I’m not worried about that. Remember BJ didn’t think he had to campaign and that’s why we now have Danny Rogers.
Mandate Mayor will refuse to settle. Her base would revolt. It is reprehensible how often Greensboro’s elite tries to stifle rights and freedoms.
Your imaginary friend couldn’t care less (mostly because he doesn’t exist). Talk to him/her/it all you want, only HUMAN BEINGS make a difference in what happens in the physical world.
Just one word for you tuna “KARMA “. Enjoy your ride. I’m sure it will be a warm one
stevethetuna only imagines himself to be smart. The rest of us aren’t fooled.
Why don’t you put the names of the GPD officers involved?
They are named in the suit, but are not listed as defendants for some reason. My guess is that the group involved, which is a religious group, took pity on the officers themselves. Something like, take pity on the ignorant for they know not the evil they do. Or, as B.A. Baracas would say, “I pity the fool who messes with my freedom!”
Our “ freedom” is only as much as the government allows just think about it double,triple taxation, helmet laws, seatbelts, gun laws, this is a short list but sorry pal but the freedoms in this country have been eroding for a long time. Open your eyes Let the revolution begin.
If you think this stinks, check out Justin Trudeau v/s truckers. Or just check out Trudeau.
I asked my neighborhood GPD officers, when this plandemic started up, how Roy Cooper or Skip Alston could write laws?! I asked if they were willing to risk violating mine or anyone’s rights and they said, almost to a one, ” I’m not your babysitter and I’m not going to do a thing.” Serms there may be $250,000 per violation fines lurking in the background under US Codes